The Sun journalist Alan Nixon has today reported that Manchester City winger Brandon Barker is nearing a switch back to Preston.
Nixon has stated that PNE see Barker as an ideal replacement for Robinson – something I struggle to envision, but Barker still has many attractive qualities.
While the City left-winger showed flashes of brilliance during his limited time at Preston last season, there were few signs that he has the footballing ability to pick up the mantle left behind by the departure of Callum Robinson.
Barker is still young, at just 22-years-old, and this immediately throws up the question of consistency. Other than Preston, Barker’s only other Championship experience came with Rotherham United in 2015, but in that stint he made just four appearances before being recalled back to City.
And with such limited experience in the English game, it would be erroneous to sign Barker with the pretense of him being an “ideal replacement for Robinson”.
For Preston last season, Barker registered just 665 minutes of Championship football, with injury blighting much of his time in Lancashire.
Indeed, Barker was not given the opportunity to fully shine making just six starts under Alex Neil. Therefore, another loan could be an effective option – especially with the knowledge that he becomes a free agent next year.
It wouldn’t be costly and providing Barker can remain fit, it would be good to see if he can turn flashes into consistency. His lightening pace is exciting, quick feet dazzling and passing accuracy impressive. The traditional winger has also displayed positional versatility in the sense that he featured across the front line, but Barker certainly isn’t proven, like Robinson.
However, I would be open to his return based on what we saw last season. He is constantly angling for a move back on social media and he may well believe he has a point to prove considering he has just one year left on his contract at City.
So while it would be wrong to sign Barker in isolation, I would welcome his return, so long as a true Robinson replacement was still purchased.